Everyone Has Lots of Issues!
Written By: Mark Smith
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I'm a big collector of fortune cookie fortunes. One of my favorite reads 'The real test in life isn't keeping out of the rough but in getting out once you are in it.' Life is hard. Relationships are extremely complicated and they are ultimately painful as hell. At some point in your life you will create and then have to face a crisis created by your own issues. We should not be shocked when Tiger Woods hits it into the rough so to speak. He is human. It is the human condition. If your marriage has not blown up yet and you smugly judge others who have fallen then trust me, your time is coming my friend. When the bill comes due on the unresolved wounds from your childhood many times people feel an overwhelming amount of shame. They think that they have acted out because they are bad people. Many times just about everyone around them confirm this assessment. Issues come up for reasons, you have nothing to be shamed about. The whole thrust of our work at Family Tree is to just help people understand who they are, where they came from, why they married who they did and why they have acted in self destructive ways. Insight reduces shame.
At my extended family's recent Christmas gathering my lovely teenage daughters and their cousins video taped much of the dysfunctional family interactions with their new mini HD video cameras. They then interviewed each other and proclaimed that the Smith family must be THE most dysfunctional family on the planet. When I was their age I thought the same thing about my family of origin. I later learned that we we in fact not any more dysfunctional then the next family. Certainly we tend to be louder, more overweight, more obnoxious and less humble than most families, just not more unhealthy. ALL families are dysfunctional. How many marriages of long standing do you know of that are deeply connected and truly happy? Do you know what your stuff is? What is the truth about your parents? What were their faults and issues? Hwo did that wound you?
Our practice is different than most. We don't pretend to be all knowing, all powerful, above it all doctorly 'professionals' who must keep and cold distance from our clients. Trust me, if someone becomes a therapist they are one messed up puppy to begin with. All of my staff including myself are in a life long process of working on our own recovery work from the wounds of our childhood's. Don't ever go to a therapist who is not doing so. They are dangerous and they won't be able to help you. The reason that we are do good at helping people is that we ourselves have been there. We share from our own experiences in an effort to normalize yours and to help you. In my own situation, due to a variety of health issues very early in my life I never really was able to bond with my mother. The following is a poem that I wrote abaout my relationship with my mother. I hope that you enjoy it and that it touches you.
I am little again.
She bounces around the kitchen all bubbly joy and smiles, lite on her feet, a twinkle in her eye.
Doris Day regales and brightens my tiny senses… Que Sera, Sera whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours to see, Que Sera, Sera.
The magical aroma of boiling liquid fudge dominates and warms our safe place. It was wudge to my little self, by far the most wonderful smell of my childhood.
What a perfect blend – soft sweet chocolate bettered by crunchy, salty pecans. It tasted heavenly. It was nurturing addictive motherly love. I would gobble it up until I was sick.
I longed for more touch from my sweet, angry, too busy mother but I gleefully consumed that which she offered. The special treat filled in what I needed and ultimately it wasn’t nearly enough.
I am little still.
Your childhood is the very foundation of your personality. It is when you learn how to love and be loved. You can't fix your marriage unless you first fix the wounds of your childhood. There is a little boy or little girl at your core. They are no doubt causing some problems in your relationship from time to time. Recovery is about embracing that little kid and working hard to understand and heal them rather than just hiding them behind your defenses. Intimacy is your inner child being seen in all their raw imperfectness by a patient, kind and loving spouse who doesn't judge. Then they expose their wounded deep child to you. Who are you? Where did you come from? How is that popping up in your relationships now. Don't be ashamed that you have really goofed up. One of my favorite clients used to say that she really 's#*@' her pants when her issues would come up. I loved that. If you are in life's rough with your pants full of doodoo be gracious with yourself. We are all going to be there at one point or another. Get some solid recovery help now to move wisely and proactively out of the rough with your head held high. It is all about the journey and the learning opportunities not the need for a perfect image.
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